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Virginia Dam Repair – 2024 Grant Money

February 1, 2024 | Environmental Law


If you own waterfront property in Virginia with a dam in need of repair you should apply for a dam repair grant available from the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

$10M in Grant Money Available for Virginia Dam Repair

If you own waterfront property in Virginia with a dam in need of repair you should act now to apply for dam repair grant available from the Commonwealth of Virginia. 

March 15, 2024 is the deadline for submitting an application.

The Virginia Dam Safety Act

In a previous article, we explained that most dams in Virginia are regulated by the Virginia Dam Safety Act (”the Act”), codified as Virginia Code 10.1-604 et seq. We also hosted a webinar explaining the Act, and published a follow-up article explaining a dam owner’s liability in the event of a dam failure.

In those articles and during the webinar, we explained that the day-to-day regulation of Virginia’s Dam Safety Program is performed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), and that dams which are subject to regulation under the Act are classified according to their potential to create a hazard to life or to cause serious economic loss in the case of dam failure. 

We also explained that regulators have the authority to enter onto private property to inspect and regulate dams which fall under the Act. If discrepancies are noted, the officials can issue an Administrative Order requiring the owner to come into compliance.  

Virginia Dam Safety Act Violations

It is a crime to knowingly operate, construct or alter a dam in violation of the Act. Violators can be found guilty of:

  • Class 3 misdemeanor
  • Subject to a civil penalty up to $500 per day of violation
  • Violation not to exceed $25,000
  • Va. Code §10.1-613.1

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Dam Repair Grant Application Deadline is March 15, 2024

As you might imagine, dam repair can be extremely costly for a private property owner to repair or replace dam. Conversely, failure to make required repairs can subject the property owner to severe civil or criminal liability. This puts property owners in a difficult situation.

Fortunately, the Commonwealth has a program to assist property owners faced with this dilemma. As of January 1, 2024, the Commonwealth has set aside $10 million in grant repair money to assist property owners in dam repair. Approximately $7 million of the grant fund is for privately owned High Hazard Dams, with the remaining funds allocated between several other categories. 

But time is of the essence, as grant applications are due by March 15, 2024! If you are a property owner experiencing an issue with a dam on your land, we strongly recommend that you contact our waterfront property law team to assist in applying for the grant money before it is too late.


The attorneys on our Waterfront Property Law Team have strong connections, significant legal experience and go the extra mile for our clients to get the job done. A few years ago one of our attorneys kicked off his shoes and got in the water to fend off a criminal enforcement action. The attorney got soaked in the process, but he protected our client from facing criminal charges. Contact us to get the help you need from attorneys who go the extra mile to serve you.

About The Author

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Bryan protects waterfront (riparian) property rights. His focus is Virginia aquaculture and maritime law, including the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act; the Virginia Primary Sand Dune and Beaches Act; and the Virginia Tidal Wetlands Act. Contact Bryan at (757) 490-6283 or bpeeples@pendercoward.com.